Quantcast

UC Davis Converts Waste Into Clean Energy With Nation's Largest Campus Biodigester

Trash isn't simply trash at the University of California, Davis, it's an important tool to create on clean energy.

The waste-to-power conversion takes place in a large, white tanks on campus, together known as the Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ). UC Davis unveiled the biodigester on Earth Day. Using UC Davis biological and agricultural engineering professor Ruihong Zhang's technology, the university collaborated with Gold River, CA-based CleanWorld to bring it to a commercial scale.

It's the nation's largest anaerobic biodigester on a college campus.

“It has been the thrust of my research to bring the innovations we made possible at UC Davis to commercial scale,” said Zhang, who began working on a way to create energy from organic waste more than a decade ago.

“This technology can change the way we manage our solid waste. It will allow us to be more economically and environmentally sustainable. I am proud and grateful to be a part of the team who helped make this moment a reality." 

The biodigester is located at campus' now-closed landfill. The system uses generators to convert 50 tons of organic waste to 12,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable electricity each day, diverting 20,000 tons of waste from local landfills each year. It is the third commercial biodigester CleanWorld has opened using Zhang’s technology. Zhang serves as the chief technology advisor for CleanWorld.

Inside these tanks on the UC Davis campus, organic waste is converted into clean energy. Photo credit: UC Davis.

Inside the oxygen-deprived tanks, bacterial microbes convert the university's food and yard waste into clean energy that feeds the campus electrical grid. The biodigester creates 5.6 million kWh per year of electricity. It is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13,500 tons per year. Making use of the former landfill location, the process uses the methane created from the waste to help convert the waste into renewable energy.

“The biodigester is the latest chapter in UC Davis’ world-renowned legacy of environmental sustainability,” said Linda P.B. Katehi, chancellor of UC Davis.

“This project stands as a model public-private partnership and demonstrates what can be achieved when research universities and private industry collaborate to address society’s most pressing challenges.”

 

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

UC Davis and Honda Unveil Smart Home For a Zero-Carbon Future

How One NFL Team Will Turn Food Waste Into Renewable Energy

Incinerating Trash is a Waste of Resources

——– 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Wesley Martinez Da Costa / EyeEm / Getty Images

By David R. Montgomery

Would it sound too good to be true if I was to say that there was a simple, profitable and underused agricultural method to help feed everybody, cool the planet, and revitalize rural America? I used to think so, until I started visiting farmers who are restoring fertility to their land, stashing a lot of carbon in their soil, and returning healthy profitability to family farms. Now I've come to see how restoring soil health would prove as good for farmers and rural economies as it would for the environment.

Read More Show Less
skaman306 / Moment / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a cruciferous vegetable that originated in Asia and Europe (1Trusted Source).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Tinnakorn Jorruang / iStock / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The budding research on cannabidiol, or CBD, attracts a great deal of interest in the agricultural field.

Read More Show Less
Oksana Khodakovskaia / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a tree native to China that's prized for its sweet, citrus-like fruit.

Read More Show Less

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
During the summer, the Arctic tundra is usually a thriving habitat for mammals such as the Arctic fox. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Reports of extreme snowfall in the Arctic might seem encouraging, given that the region is rapidly warming due to human-driven climate change. According to a new study, however, the snow could actually pose a major threat to the normal reproductive cycles of Arctic wildlife.

Read More Show Less
Vegan rice and garbanzo beans meals. Ella Olsson / Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

One common concern about vegan diets is whether they provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Many claim that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements.

Read More Show Less
A fracking well looms over a residential area of Liberty, Colorado on Aug. 19. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

Read More Show Less